How do consumer habits shape the vending sector?

A few months ago, we wrote about the vending industry trends in 2020. Although the year started with some unexpected turn of events, some of the key trends remained the same. Prevalence of cashless payments, increased payment security, diverse product choices, eco-friendly stock – all these tendencies still shape the sector.  

READ MORE: DON’T MISS OUT: 6 VENDING INDUSTRY TRENDS FOR 2020

Some even got more widespread. Contactless payments replace cash to keep the minimal human contact, and stock diversifies with hand sanitizers and disposable face masks. But today, let’s see how consumer habits shape the vending sector and how it’s changing for good. Is it much different from country to country, and what influences the vast growth of the industry?

When we think about the vending sector, we tend to picture an old machine at a lobby filled with drinks and snacks. It’s often the case, but in some countries, fresh food from vending machines is becoming more popular, and some people even buy accessories or medicine from vending machines.

Is cash still king? Japan vending example

Japan stands in the front lines of the vending sector. Japan has the biggest density of vending machines, one vending machine per 40 people. It also offers a great variety of drinks, fresh food and snacks, cigarettes, alcohol, and even socks or contact lenses. 

The widespread use of vending machines in Japan can be explained with population density. 127 million people are living in the country, which is a lot for a relatively small territory. High population density causes real estate prices to increase, making it challenging to open shops and store consumer goods. 

Also, vending machines are a great alternative because the country has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Vendors don’t have to worry about vandalism or thefts, which allows broader expansion.

While Japan is considered one of the world’s most modern societies, the country still mainly relies on cash payments. The world is transitioning to digital payments, but it would be difficult to find a vending machine in Japan that accepts anything but cash. 

Japanese people are used to paying in cash because, to this day, most of the shops and restaurants have only cash policy. 

Contactless payments are paving the way in Europe – Germany’s example

Europe is far behind Japan when it comes to the vending sector. But the most evident difference is that Europe is rapidly moving towards cashless payments. In Germany, there are around 580 thousand vending machines, and 75% of them operate on cash

While most of the population find it convenient to pay in cash for small purchases like snacks and drinks, the country is stepping ahead to replace cash with contactless payment methods. 

Japan vending machine

With more flexible payment options such as bank cards, mobile phones, the country predicts that trends are likely to change. For instance, in Berlin, one of the biggest public transportation company BVG replaced cash payments with online ones in most city’s ticket vending machines.

Fresh food vending machines – Lithuanian example

Buying a sandwich or a pack of chips from a vending machine is a common practice. But have you ever thought of buying a freshly baked pizza from a vending machine? Last year, Lithuania introduced its first robotic vending machine that bakes pizzas. The automated system prepares ingredients of your choice and makes a pizza. 

Similar attempts were greeted positively in Italy, even though the country has a long-lasting home-baked food tradition. And while vending machines might not replace restaurants, it’s an exciting development to follow in the future.

In Germany, vending machines offer fresh sausages. People, especially in more rural areas, can buy bratwurst, bockwurst, and barbecue meats for their dinner without going to a store. 

FSM vending automation and management

The vending sector is full of news, and it has a lot of room for new developments and integrations. If you operate in the industry and wish to make your work more efficient, consider digitizing your company from the core. Taskertools offers a fully-automated FSM solution for vending companies.

You can transfer your vending business operations online to simplify your work and save resources. With Taskertools, you can schedule tasks, assess employee performance, and get comprehensive reports within seconds. Learn more about our plans to see what could work for your business.